Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
The second book in the "Falcon Quinn" series begins with Falcon's return for his second term at Monster Academy. The reunion with his monster friends is bittersweet, however, as Falcon dearly misses his friend Megan, the wind elemental. It's one death-defying adventure after another as Falcon has to both face enemies within Monster Academy and avoid confrontation with the Guardians, who are determined to return Falcon to what they believe is his proper place in the world. Falcon's dual nature allows him to remain separate from both realms, understanding that they are more alike than they appear on the surface. Falcon's determination to do what is right and fair sets him on a collision course with disaster. Fortunately, with a little help from The Watcher and a great deal of his own ingenuity, disaster is narrowly avoided. The story is entertaining and fast-paced, but a little difficult to follow without having first read Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror, the first book of the series. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
VOYA - Valerie Burleigh
Falcon Quinn, a boy stuck between the worlds of monsters and guardians, is still unsure of his destiny in this second installment of the Falcon Quinn series. As the only one of his kind, he is a misfit among misfits. After being accused of stealing his friends' possessions while at the Academy of Monsters, he decides to flee the island but is instead kidnapped by his mother's warriors. Being returned to his mother's world is frustrating to Falcon until he finds out that one of his missing friends might be hidden there. Attempting a rescue forces Falcon and his friends to choose loyalties, which leads to shocking results. Boylan truly understands the craft of writing. The story, divided into four parts, flows effortlessly as she continues to introduce new characters, settings, and ethical dilemmas. While the underlying theme is tolerance and empathy, she creates settings of incredible imagination mixed with humor and delight. The characters, whether they are monster or guardian, are most entertaining from beginning to end, with plenty of action added to the mix. Fans of book one will be thrilled, and Boylan will acquire new fans of fantasy as well. Reviewer: Valerie Burleigh
Falcon Quinn returns to another exclamation mark–laden year at a school where nobody understands him, the poor little angel—literally.
At the end of his last year at the Monster Academy, Falcon discovered his angelic nature as well as his true parentage: His father is the demonic Academy headmaster Crow; his mother, queen of the monster-killing guardians. None of this knowledge has made him any more popular. The other kids don't trust him anyway, and it doesn't help that he keeps finding himself in ridiculous scrapes. Did Falcon try to kill his friend Pearl, the famous Chupakabra of Peru? Did he stuff Quagmire, the puddle of bubbling glop, in his godzooka during band practice? When Falcon flees from monsters and finds himself among guardians, he discovers those monster-killers resemble his monster friends more closely than either side would like to admit. The silliness is consistently funny but not consistently age-appropriate; a pirate referring to the bottom of the sea as "Peter Tork's locker" is a groaner that will zoom right over the heads of middle-school readers. For the most part, however, egg-laying werechicken boys and Hamlet "as written in the original Frankenstein dialect" will keep giggles coming. The humor provides necessary counterpoint to the trowelled-on nobody-loves-me angst.
Goofy, overenthusiastic nonsense with just enough rambling plot to hold it all together. (Fantasy. 9-11)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—It's a new year for Falcon Quinn but things haven't changed much. Sure, he's an angel now, but being the only angel anyone can remember isn't that great when all you're trying to do is find where you fit in. Couple that with the fact that most everyone—monsters and guardians alike—thinks he is a traitor and it looks like another lonely year for him. In this sequel to Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror (HarperCollins, 2010), readers are introduced to several new characters, some good, some bad, and some who are exactly the same as already existing characters. The new arrivals are interesting for the most part, but only add to an already convoluted population of peripheral people. The story, while mostly enjoyable, is occasionally uneven, especially when characterizations are contrived more to fit the action than the established personality. And while there are some interesting plot twists, Falcon spends most of the story pondering his loneliness or the importance of being true to oneself. That said, Crimson Vapor is a quick, high-energy read that should be met with some enthusiasm by fans of the first book.—Erick Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX